Athyrium filix-femina

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Southern Lady Fern


Plant Specifics

Size:2.5-3.5 ft tall by 2-3 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:NA
Fruit Color:NA
Phenology:Winter dormant
Noted for:Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:Ground cover. This is a clump-forming fern (all fronds arise from a central point) making it a good focal point in a shade garden. Can also be used as a border plant.
Propagation:Division (spring is said to be best).
Availability:FNPS plant sales
Light: Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Usually moist, occasional inundation)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Usually moist, occasional inundation
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Sand
Soil pH:Acidic to neutral



One resource (Misssouri Botantical Garden) indicates that it tolerates rabbits.

Native Habitats:Moist hammocks, swamps, shady bluffs.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Fronds and rhizomes are said to be poisonous but potentially edible after cooking (please don't eat based on this information!)
General Comments:Fronds are lacy and delicate in appearance.